Obama news conference: liveblog
December 22nd, 2010
05:00 PM ET
4 years ago

Obama news conference: liveblog

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama held a news conference Wednesday to discuss the lame duck session of Congress and plans for the upcoming year.


4:16
Obama says everybody is itching to get out of here and spend time with families
Says some of our colleagues are already in Hawaii – guess he means our correspondent Ed Henry
4:17
He calls it a "season of progress for the American people."
It's a reflection of the message sent this fall – says he will take it to heart - referrning to the November election results.
4:17
Starts with the START treaty– his pet project.
Promises we will be able to "trust but verify" that the Russians are doing their part

--
4:18
The President says he just got off the phone with Senator Dick Lugar – reminded him that his first trip as a senator was with Lugar to Russia. All comes back to today's vote!
4:19
Next up – tax cuts. We should all get about $1000 in our paycheck.
The economy should grow "faster than originally thought" next year.
4:20
Finally ending long standing unjustice – Dont Ask Dont Tell repeal - signed into law today.
4:20
Food safety laws all passed – still need 9/11 rescuer bill.
Says we just had "the most productive post election period in decades."
4:21
Disappointed about the DREAM act not getting passed – says we should stop punishing kids for the acts of their parents.

--
4:22
Lesson: We are not doomed to endless gridlock!
The president says he isn't naive about tough fights ahead but says we most hold to a "common purpose" in the year ahead
4:23
Message to military – "the American people stand united in our support and admiration for you."

--
Question from Caren Bohan of Reuters
Wants to know if Obama thinks of himself as the comeback kid

Obama says the last few weeks was a victory for the American people, and wants everyone to know that it's possible to have disagreements but still pass legislation.

--
Question from ABC's Jake Tapper
What was conversation like with Marine Commandant Amos? Do you understand his position? Is it intellectually consistent to say gays and lesbian should fight and die yet can't marry?

Obama says he didn't want to reveal private conversations with service chiefs. Basically Amos has said that he disagrees but will follow his commander and chief.
Amos assured the president "regardless of his concerns, he was confident he could implement the policy"

Obama again talked about struggling with his personal feelings about gay and lesbian marriage. He said he knows many extraordinary humans who care deeply about this issue. He reiterates his feeling that "civil union" is enough – others disagree.

--
Question from CNN's Dan Lothian.
Wants to know about the car in the ditch- where is it today? What kind of highway will it be in 2011.

Obama chuckles and said man, you gave some thought to that question didn't you?

Obama thinks the car is on level ground, and we are past the crisis point in the economy. Would like to see a pivot on jobs and growth, and says that will be his MAIN focus over the next two years, so we start making a dent in unemployment.

Obama says steps taken in the auto industry prove how timely, limited, restricted intervention can really make a difference. But he also says the American people are driving the car, and they will be the ones who will decide if the policies put together work for them. Calls for accountability on all sides

--
4:33
Question from Mark Knoller from CBS Radio
Explain the anger and outrage over the tax cuts for the wealthy. Is that a divide you contributed to?
"The frustration people felt was frustration I shared."

Obama reaffirmed his earlier statements on the unreal expectation of the rich to continue to receive such cuts over a sustained amount of time
He said of those who receieved the cuts originally – they were rich then and will still be rich if these tax cuts went away!
Says medical care for vets is important – but it costs money. We say education is important – we have to invest in research to keep our competitive ege. All those things costs money.
But says "compromise means 'taking some things you don't like.'"
Said a middle class with a shot at the American dream should be our goal. Says we should celebrate a Steve Jobs! And we should expect him to be rich!!

--
Question from CNN's Juan Carlos Lopez
DREAM act has failed, so many promises re: immigration. What happens now with GOP controlling the house? And what about border security?

Obama says there is so many things still need to be done, and this is one of them. Still going to have to figure out how we work on energy, and that's something he wants to engage with with the GOP ASAP. But calls the Dream Act vote his BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT.

Calls it 'heartbreaking' to have kids in the US, classmates of our children, who live in fear of deportation, even though they didn't break any laws.

Obama says his 'hope and expectation' is to get immigration reform done because it's the 'right thing to do'
Says his administration has done more on border security than any other in recent years.

Says we are a "nation of laws" but can also be a "nation of immigrants."
Obama says he hopes people realize how persistent he is, if he believes in something strong enough, he is determined. And he vows to engage with Republicans on border security and talk about how the US can make it better.

--
Question from Mike Emanuel of Fox News.
Guatanamo - where are you these days on closing it?

"Obviously we haven't gotten it closed."
Obama says his #1 priority is to keep Americans safe. Believes we can keep Americans safe, be aggressive against al Queda, etc but we must remember that we are living up to our values as Americans. "That is what closing Guantanamo is about."
Obama says we can house them soemwhere else because Guantanmo has becme a "symbol" used by terrorists to create more anger at America.
One of the toughest problems is what to do with those we KNOW are dangerous but because of the manner in which they were captured and interrogated, it become difficult to try them in a court.
We must be consistent with our values and Constitution – "but it isn't an easy task."
Obama says we must stand for something beyond our economic and military might – and it is one of our most powerful weapons.

4:49
Happy holidays, Happy New Year....see you in 2011!
And the President was out the door and packing his bags for a Hawaii Christmas holiday.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    If someone asks, "How's that hopey changey thing going?' The answer is, "damn well thank you, with no help from the slimiest bunch of republicans to ever hold elected office." Country first, what a bunch of lying crap. Just more of the republican culture of corruption.

    December 22, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    i was thinking about the bush tax cut bill and why obama passed this bill that have been sucking the life force out of the american people for the past 10 years, and what i came up with was atonishing. obama and his advisors just simply past the the ball to the gop and the rich, now they are on offense now. the rich has been exposed infront of the whole america. now they have a choice, start reinvesting all those trillions of dollars they have been piling up on the sideline for the past 2 years, and show that they deserve a tax cut to help out the economy, or keep packing up trillions of america demand money and refuse to reinvest in the economy in the form of jobs, and risk losing it in the next two years. now the repugs have no excuses why big corporations are not creating jobs for the middle class and poor. obama and his advisors had done a switcheroo on the repugs, and they didnt even know it. now they have no excuse not to creat jobs, even though i know the repugs will come up with somthing why big businesses are not hiring, at least they are exposed and america will be watching and waiting. beep the game has started, what will you do with the ball now repugs?

    December 22, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    President Obama has now completed 90% of the agenda he was elected on. And to accomplish this with no help from McTurtle and That one McCain says that he is a true leader. I am proud to have voted for him, and will vote for him in 2012.

    December 22, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  4. Raptor

    That's my prez. Not a history buff, but I would to see a comparison of this lame duck session versus other lame duck sessions from Congress.

    December 22, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  5. one voice

    His 2 year accomplishments: Lilly Ledbetter fair pay act for Women, Children's health care Insurance, Matthew Shepard hate crimes prevention bill, tobacco regulation, Credit card reform, Student loan reform, Stimulus package( largest tax breaks for middle class Americans in history,clean energy research funding,education), healthcare reform( insurance companies can no longer drop coverage if you get sick and can no longer deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions), Wallstreet reform, the new G.I. bill, food saftey modernization act, repeal of don't ask don't tell and saved GM and Chrysler from closure. THANK YOU MR PRESIDENT, WE THANK GOD FOR YOU

    December 22, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    That's right Mr. President, sum it up and break it down for the general public.
    The Dems need to work in one major area and that is MESSAGING. You are the perfect person to summarize to the American people everything that YOU have accomplished in the past month alone. Keep it simple and uncomplicated, your ratings will continue to rise!

    Merry Christmas to one and all. Happy Holidays to the rest of you!

    December 22, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  7. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA/John Boehner The Crybaby

    Rub it in Mr. President, Rub it in!!! The G.O.NO.P. can't stand to watch you run the scorecard up on them. Maybe Congress should stay in session thru Christmas until they pass the DREAM Act as well. Let's keep the ball rolling.

    December 22, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  8. Gale

    Yep, pat me on the back time!

    December 22, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  9. Ann

    Don't ever underestimate President Barack Obama. he knows that there is more than one way to make things happen that he does not have to fight and scream and yell and show off so that people can say what a tough guy he is He is not a "Bull Horn" type of President that is not his style. That is way too easy and anybody can do it.

    He is steady and sure and I agree with how he approaches things. He approaches problems intelligently and thoughtfully and clearly believes in the old addage. TO SPEAK SOFTLY AND CARRY A BIG STICK

    I hope that all of you Democrats who were screaming last week about the Tax Bill and about him not "fighting" with the GOP can now eat your words. I wonder if you are still out there trying to find a challenger for 2012? All of you need to have some faith in his strategy and support his efforts because I doubt that any of you could stand up and deal with all of the problems that he has had to deal with since coming into office. He has been excellent in dealing with one crisis after another as well as dealing with the Republican propaganda machine and their obstruction tactics.

    Despite the haters, he has had one successful piece of legislature after the other over the past 2 years and now capping that off with the repeal of "Dont ask don"t tell" YOU GO PRESIDENT OBAMA – WE ARE PROUD OF YOU.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    AND YOU HATERS ....................................PLEASE GET A LIFE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 22, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  10. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    You wingnuts really need to shut off G-Lenin Beck and Kim Sean Hannity. You are writing crazy stuff.

    December 22, 2010 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  11. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    This has been a bad day for republicans. On the other hand, it has been a great day for me.

    December 22, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  12. p

    The POTUS brilliantly gave the repubs just enough rope to hang themselves...

    December 22, 2010 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  13. Pennsylvania Super Patriot Deluxe

    stufit,

    i am sure you were there complaining when bush was clearing brush all of the time down in crawford. just like your were complaining about the debt problems between 2000 and 2006. gotta love your double standard. way to have it both ways there spiffy.

    December 22, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  14. luke

    obama, dems,.... WELL DONE!! obama comes through huge and will get my vote again in 2012 as will the democratic party. maybe as an extra xmas bonus the DO NOTHING, PUT THE COUNTRY IN JEOPARDY TO SCORE POLITICAL POINTS REPUBLICAN PARTY will begin the spending cuts with their own salary and return the money that the american people are paying republican senators and congressmen who do nothing for this country and sit on their hands in dangerous times.

    December 22, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    One must wonder if the GOP is learning a hard lesson right now: If you're going to go straight off the deep end and behave and talk like a bunch of gibbering lunatics, throw partisan temper tantrums, engage in misinformation/demogoguery campaigns, etc. etc., YOU BETTER MAKE D-MN SURE YOU WIN AND RUIN THE OTHER SIDE OR YOU ARE EXPOSED FOR THE FRAUDULENT, PETULENT, PEURIENT, SELF-SERVING JACKHOLES YOU ARE. History hath spoken, so it shall be written.

    December 22, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  16. Four and The Door

    Wire Palladin, S. F.
    President Obama has now completed 90% of the agenda he was elected on.
    __________________________________________________________________
    What about that little part where he had all the answers for 'fixing' the economy? The best thing he has done in that regard is to extend the Bush Tax Cuts. That will be the one thing finally to start helping get Americans back to work. Wasn't that Tax cut deal the thing he said he would never do?

    December 22, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  17. jd

    Great job, I am proud I voted for Obama, Keep them Reps. on their toes...

    December 22, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @stufit
    Babe don't be a jealous hater. I'm just a happily married woman, with 2 grown sons who admires the HELL out of our President for working as hard and effctively as he does and for making haters, LIKE YOU, dry-swallow all of your stereotypes about lazy and unintelligent Black folks.

    By the way, President Obama can travel on HIS Air Force One anytime he pleases and needs to. I too pay taxes.

    December 22, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "What about that little part where he had all the answers for 'fixing' the economy? The best thing he has done in that regard is to extend the Bush Tax Cuts."

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. There is NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER that tax cuts for the already wealthy stabilize or stimulate the economy. It is entirely absent from historical record, including the 10 years immediately preceeding passage of the extension, during which those same tax cuts did NOTHING to create economic or job growth or prevent this massive recession. The GOP just had to be paid in blood so they could pander to the 2% of this country they actually care about. Studies from Dept. of Labor and CBO list tax cuts for the extremely wealthy DEAD LAST on the list of tools available to the gov't for stimulating the economy and list UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE AS NUMBER ONE. Guess who pushed for the unemployment insurance extensions for the past 2 years and as part of this "tax cut deal"...and who opposed them? Go ahead....guess.

    December 22, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  20. vic nashville tn

    He will be Happy now

    Senate did every thing what he wants

    First 2 years good year for him

    I am happy too

    December 22, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  21. JM

    How hard is it to pass your agenda when you have a resistance poof majority in congress and one vote shy of a fillibuster proof majority in the senate? For all of you who bought the strawman argument the President has given these past two years are as niave as the day is long. It was his party holding things up not the republicans who didn't have the number of seats to do it. I cannot wait until January when there will be a sufficient number of republicans to stop what's left of this agenda.

    December 22, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  22. sharon

    GOD bless you Pres Obama you have truly got the ball rolling despite all the setacks from the republican and from theracist community. You have that you are a man of your words. We also understand that you may not get everything you wanted but that's ok we stand 100 percent behind you. The republican will pay for their nonsense in2012. May the Barack family have a Merry Christmas & Happy,Healthy &Safe New Year.

    December 22, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  23. Four and More

    President Obama has done an impressive job for America in 2 years and especially admirable effort these past 2 months. No one is perfect, but President Obama has earned much respect and support to continue leading our country.

    God Bless The USA

    December 22, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  24. JM

    Don't quote President Reagan, you're not qualified Obama.

    December 22, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. NameFinally

    This is the best I've felt sine 2008. Mr.President thanks for sticking to your promises. I can't wait to vote for you for the first time in 2012.

    December 22, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
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